The Little Paris Bookshop

Author: Nina George
Published: 2015

This is the second time I’ve read this book. In both cases, I was reading this book to overcome some relationship issues. This is the book to read when faced with heart breaks, aches, and pains. This is the book to read to remind you that love is never denied to you, or withheld from you. This is the prescription the doctor (bookseller) writes for you when nothing else will suffice.

I started reading this book late one night while waiting for a flight. I didn’t have any tea on hand and I didn’t want to wait until I could get some. When I first read this book in 2016, I was struggling with specific expectations in a relationship and what was actually happening. The book was a means of escape and also hope – hope that I could have what was written in the pages, if only I could find the courage to ask for it. 

Now that the relationship has come to its inevitable conclusion, this book hits far too close to home and even though I want to put it aside so I can grieve, I still turn the page and seek comfort. If only there was a hot cup of tea to soothe the aches…it’s who you share it with right? The books, the tea, and the blog.   

So many feels. So many emotions. So many memories of what I experienced with him and what I would have liked to experience together. George has a fantastic way of giving voice to the emotions I felt back then and what I am currently feeling. There are slight differences between 2016 and 2018, mainly the wisdom I’ve gained and new insights about myself, but the book is still a love letter to lost love, lost chance, missed opportunities to say yes to experiences that may at first appeared to be unsound for someone’s life but would have ultimately brought peace. It’s a book about guilt and forgiveness and moving on from the decisions made in anger. 

In the middle of reading this book, I had dinner with a complete stranger. He asked about my eclectic choice of ice cream and beer for dinner, little did he know that I had already had my meal. I was onto desert by the time he arrived at the restaurant. We talked for two hours and at one point he asked me what I was getting, or did get, out of the relationship. I’m still thinking about that, but for the most part I didn’t get what I was looking for and silently wishing for. I wanted love. In the book, Mr. Perdu finds love and wants to hold on to it for eternity, and acted accordingly when the relationship status changed. This book is the response to every relationship that goes sideways. To every person who feels so intensely and deeply for a relationship and can’t understand – or refuses to understand – when it changes. 

Within the pages, I found small nuggets of wisdom to help ease me through the pain I was experiencing. Like finally deciding whether the relationship was “a big love, or a small love.” And while I want to say it was one, it was definitely the other. I knew from the very beginning that it was always the other – for me and for him, even if he wouldn’t admit to it to himself or to me. After all this time, I’m ok with that. And like coffee and tea, we are the ones that get to decide to love or not to love. For me, I want tea and to love, and to carry forwards the experience that happened and to decide now, in retrospect, that I had some happy times with him even when things weren’t going the way I planned.